By editorial board • 

Alpine work already beginning to pay off

The major complaints about government seem to be its slow, plodding, bureaucratic nature; its lack of imagination and innovation; its failure to move out in front and lead.

But, of course, swift, bold and innovative action, aimed at positively shaping future development, also tends to draw criticism. That criticism simply arises from a different quarter.

So it has proven with McMinnville’s $4 million Alpine Avenue remake, completed in April.

The project has drawn negative comments in our online forum, which grants posters anonymity. They have accused the city of “chasing unicorns,” “throwing money at the rundown houses on the new cork sniffer route,” “catering to special interest groups of small numbers and loud voices,” and, pardon the language, trying to make Alpine “look like Turd Street.”

We, on the other hand, regard it as a remarkably imaginative and farsighted investment that promises to yield dividends handsomely. Given its long-term nature, we are delighted to see it already generating  major private development proposals designed to take advantage.

One developer plans to embark on renovation of the historic Huberd Shoe Grease building, and another construction of a 25,000-square foot complex on neighboring Lafayette Avenue. Between them, the projects will include a food, drink, event and possibly production businesses catering to both locals and visitors.

Like it or not, the local economy rises and falls based on tourism. And while Third Street may not much resemble the sleepy main drag fixed in the memories of oldtimers, it represents the crown jewel of McMinnville tourism.

The city has embarked on efforts to expand its history-drenched, pedestrian-friendly Third Street charm into the former industrial domain to the north and east, which had long languished in seedy neglect. And to a large measure, it has already succeeded with the Granary District, now teeming with activity.

Alpine Avenue represents the spine of the next logical extension, to the north. The city is hoping measured, targeted public investment will trigger a bounty of private investing.  

What’s more, it is trying to encourage a mixed-use approach with a solid housing component, not just foster tourism. That also reflects the formula on Third Street, where second-story spaces house residents.

In point of fact, much of Alpine wasn’t even paved when the city embarked on the rejuvenation. And voters overwhelmingly approved a street improvement bond issue with Alpine as one of the major commitments.

Cities like Phoenix and Houston have largely avoided efforts to either spur or channel development.

Both places, lack of investment and planning has produced a mindless expanse of sprawl dominated by asphalt and concrete. As a result, they lack the charm and character of Portland, Seattle and, yes, McMinnville.

Cities inevitably change. The trick is directing that change in a positive direction, and McMinnville should be commended for making the effort.
 

Comments

Jim

You guys wonder why President Trump yells fake news. This editorial is so opinionated it’s not even funny. The part of Alpine that got redone was paved for years. I have been using a piece of property their since 1976. It wasn’t near a decrepit as you suggest. I stand by what I’ve been saying. It and the school districts Cook School project have been the biggest waste of taxpayer money in the last 20 years. The money for this was passed in a bond that was meant to improve a lot of city streets and would never have passed on its own.

sbagwell

Imagine that. An editorial that expresses an opinion.

Steve

Jim

Bagwell your piece on Alpine is racked with derogatory comments. Seedy is a great word to use on the businesses on Alpine. At least they pay living wage jobs unlike your beloved tourist industry. You and the city of McMinnville are so focused on tourism you’ve forgotten who lives here. I’ll bet there’s a whole lot of farmers that might not agree with your statement that tourism drives the economy. Why don’t you promote some industry that promotes wages and benefits that can buy a house in this town. Why don’t you do some research and figure out how to rid the town of the derilic’s and not just on Third Street. Why does such a small segment of our town have to go along with all the lunacy over tourism? I and a lot of local folks don’t even go to Third Street because the tourists have run us out.

Denise

We would hardly expect any other response from the NR editorial board. The far left is well represented by our friendly local “news” source.

sbagwell

The terms "right" and "left" really only have one plausible application to redevelopment of Alpine Avenue: It makes provision for both right and left turns.
What does city urban renewal action, overseen by a non-partisan council and hired staff, have to do with Donald Trump or partisan politics?
It seems to me that efforts to spur private development in a community fit just as neatly into a Republican agenda as a Democratic one. History shows the GOP has a long history of supporting infrastructure development, notably highway and dam building.
Take Dwight Eisenhower for example. He was the father of our interestate freeway system, which he felt, correctly, would prove a huge boon to private-sector interstate commerce.
I don't think you have to be a leftie to support infrastructuve investment in McMinnville. If so, we must have a lot of lefties, because the bond issue to fund these projects passed overwhelmingly.
Steve Bagwell, Editorial Page Editor

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